Some Clarifications Concerning My Views about Science and Religion, Mehdi Golshani

SERRC —  November 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

Author Information: Mehdi Golshani, Sharif University of Technology,

Golshani, Mehdi. “Some Clarifications Concerning My Views about Science and Religion.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 12 (2014): 90-91.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

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Image credit: European Southern Observatory, via flickr

In his criticism of Stefano Bigliardi’s recent monograph, Islam and the Quest for Modern Science, Ebrahim Azadegan offered two points, in relation to Bigliardi, characterizing my views on the relationship of science and religion:

(1) That Bigliardi does not consider me an advocate of “Islamization” of science;

(2) That Bigliardi considers me only as a believer in the harmony of Islam with science, or a believer in Islam being on equal footing with other monotheistic religions.

Here are my comments about these points: 

With respect to the first point, I am an advocate of Islamic science, but not in the sense of Ismail al-Faruqi. I think present science has taken some atheistic burdens, by appealing to metaphysical assumptions that do not come from science itself, but are imposed on science—like the denial of purpose in the creation of the universe, or the limiting of the universe to the material realm. I believe the main problems between science and religion come from some imposed metaphysical presuppositions regarding scientific assumptions that are contrary to the basic principles of all monotheistic religions.

With respect to the second point I believe, as I have mentioned in some of my papers and lectures, that the three monotheistic religions have some common principles as far as the relation of science and religion, and the motives for the study of natural phenomena, is concerned. The motive behind Muslim scientists’ efforts in studying the created world, during the glorious Islamic civilization, was exactly the same, as the one we see in the pioneers of modern science (like Kepler, Newton, etc). Of course, theological differences exist among the three monotheistic religions. But here I am only concerned with the relation of science and religion.

As I have mentioned in my book The Holy Qur’an and the Sciences of Nature, we can infer from the Qur’an that the tools for the study of nature are experimentation, theoretical work and intuition—and, of course, we get some key principles from revelation. As far as these points are concerned, I do not think that there will be any future change. But as far as other issues are concerned, like using or ignoring metaphysics, there has been, and there will be, periods during which they are emphasized or are ignored.

Bigliardi’s attention in his monograph was to give several perspectives concerning the relation of science and religion from different parts of the Islamic world. That some of the views of the Muslim scholars are similar to the views of some Western philosophers (like Swinburne and Plantinga) is a problem that could be discussed in a different work and not necessarily this monograph.

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